The road to Kona - Interview with Patrik Nilsson

Vifit Sport is a proud partner of the BMC-Vifit Sport pro triathlon team. Seven out of eight athletes of the team qualified for the Ironman world championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. We spoke the athletes about their preparations and expectations for the race.

Did you expect to finish in 8:18:21 last year and become 8th? Or was this a complete surprise? 

“I think the race in Kona will always be special... You don’t really have the margin to make any mistakes, but I knew my fitness was good and a top ten was possible. So, the result in Kona last year was maybe not a surprise, but also a result I didn’t take for granted. I know how fast everyone is racing and how small the margins are between success and failure.” 

How did you qualify for this year?

“I qualified through my result in Kona 2018 and my second place at the European Championship Ironman in Frankfurt.” 

Do you think Kona is a “fast” Ironman? Would this race be able to aim for a Personal Best overall?

“Maybe the course itself could give a fast time... The swim usually ends up around 47/48min, the bike is not to hilly and the run might be a bit hilly, but nothing crazy. But the heat, humidity and the wind quickly adds minutes to the overall time... So, I don’t expect it to be a personal best for too many athletes in Kona.”

If you had to choose for this year: finish the Ironman in Kona with a Personal Best for Kona, but finish out of the top 8, or finish Kona in a time over 8:18:21, but finish in the top 5?

“Definitely a slower time and in the top 5! Most professional races are for the overall position, not too much about the time... There is always tactics involved that might slow the overall time down, but where you have to make the right decision for an overall position. Especially in a world championship the overall position is what’s counting and not the time.”

Last year you said you had made some “rookie mistakes which could have made the race harder than necessary”. How did you prepare to avoid this mistakes for this year?

“Most of the rookie mistakes I made last year are easy to avoid this year... A dropped water bottle on the bike, I didn’t take my special needs on the run and so on... All of it is easy to avoid by following the plan this year.”

How nervous do you think you will be at D-day on a scale of 0 – 10?

“I will try to be relaxed and enjoy the atmosphere on race day.... But of course, you are and should be excited, maybe not nervous but excited, before the start. So, I guess and think it will be around 5 or little bit over.”

What is the first thing you think you will do when you finish?

“I hope to celebrate a great race with the second and third place athletes together on the podium drinking some champagne.”

What is the first thing you think you will eat after your performance?

“A good dinner a few hours after the race!! Usually a Vifit protein bar, soda and some small food served in the athlete lounge straight after the race. But, the first meal will be a good dinner in the sunset.”

Who is the first person you think you will call after the race?

“My girlfriend/coach and my son Matteo back home in Denmark.”

Do you reward yourself after such a performance and if so, what is your ultimate reward?

“The ultimate reward will be some time off, spending some extra time with the family. After a year with training and racing, I think it’s important to relax and get some extra energy before the next years’ build up starts. So, I will spend some time off with my family and enjoy some good food and company.”